Go bush in Portugal at this North African inspired eco-retreat, a stone's throw from some of the country's finest beaches”
Two single-storey casas are wrapped within a 28-hectare strand of cork and eucalyptus forest, and wildflowers carpet the forest floor. The air is beautifully scented by the trees and the entire retreat is accessed via a winding, stoney track. Since our initial visit, numerous members of the i-escape team have opted to return summer after summer and every time we've been greeted with boundless energy from the friendly dogs, easy, gentle smiles from the staff and warming sun rays from the southern Portuguese sky. All of this sets the tone just perfectly: Muxima eschews hotel-like uniformity in favour of the homespun and the organic. Expect serenity, a spacious colourful room, a child-friendly ethic and an opportunity to really get back in touch with nature.
- An eco-retreat with a genuine 'bush' feel - the eco-swimming pool comes complete with dragonflies, lily pads and lots of frogs
- A great place for families; with play areas, animals and expansive space for exploring, plus owners Paula and Jelle have four sociable little ones who appreciate new playmates
- As serene and bucolic a setting as you could hope to find, yet an easy drive from wonderful beaches and small towns
- The chance for kids, and adults, to look to the forest and the beach for entertainment, rather than to TV
- Great breakfasts held in a beach-shack-like casita, with stacks of local and homemade goodies
- Not for those seeking luxury items: no iPod docks or flatscreen TVs, and WiFi in the guest lounge only. Of course, this will be a plus for some
- Breakfast is the only meal on offer: you'll need to head down to Aljezur for other meals (or self-cater if you're in one of the suites)
- Don't expect instant service but do count on TLC from your hosts
- Reduced window openings are cool in summer but make the bedrooms quite dark - though each room boasts an expansive terrace
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique B&B
- 7 bedrooms
- Breakfast only
- All ages welcome
- Closed: 1 Nov 2022 - 31 Dec 2022
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
- Bicycles Available
- Yoga lessons on request
Divided between Casa da Eira and Casa do Monte, each of the seven guest rooms is named after the place from which its interiors come from. Expect patterned fabrics, local maps, bright colour schemes and decorative objets.
The original farmhouse, Casa da Eira, is a long building with thick outer walls made of the region's traditional taipa. Here you’ll find the three double rooms: Krabi, Citrana and Zammour. During our latest revisit, we stayed in Citrana, and loved the terracotta-coloured bathroom, oversized wicker lampshades and large leather trunk. Each is big and airy; Zammour lacks a terrace, but Krabi and Citrana have gorgeous blue daybeds and views over the forest.
The four suites have a separate living room with a sofa or mezzanine beds, and a private kitchenette. The Large Family Suite – Mangalore – has space for up to 5 adults and is the only suite found in the Casa da Eira building.
The remaining three suites – Chaouen, Tissamaharama and Sotouboua – are found in Casa do Monte, which is located a few hundred metres further into the forest, on top of a hill with breathtaking views of the valley. On a previous visit we were charmed by the Moroccan lanterns in Chaouen Suite. Also, our toddler loved being able to clamber onto the low daybeds in the living room. We enjoyed the sense of peace and escapism, but it could feel isolated for folk who prefer plenty of company.
Whichever option you choose, you’ll get a private entrance and a slice of terrace with comfy cane seating and heather blinds for shade. Polished concrete floors hide surprisingly effective solar-generated underfloor heating, and those thick outer walls mean that even in the height of summer a fan alone will keep you cool.
All rooms are spotlessly clean and have decent-sized shower rooms. Freestanding sinks are set into shiny screed surfaces and there’s a simple hanging rack for your towels. You’ll also get organic locally made handmade soap and lotions, full of local herbs and essential oils (you'll be pleased to know you can buy these to take home too).
- Central heating
- Coffee / tea making
- Extra beds
- Honesty bar
Just beneath the main house, the breakfast casita is the epitome of 'going bush' at Muxima. Resembling a breezy beach shack with views out across the valley, it has low adobe walls, a corrugated tin roof with heather matting, and wooden shutters which can be dropped down according to the season.
A big buffet breakfast is laid up along its wooden counter and small tables are painted in bright, cheerful colours. It’s a wonderfully sociable affair, where guests often sit and chat for hours over fresh local bread, homemade jams, cheeses, yoghurts, fresh fruit, olives and hummus. Each day there’s a different (and delicious) homemade cake (orange and sage during our latest stay). This is the time to talk to Paula and Jelle about the day ahead; they are always generous with their time.
If you've booked a suite you may choose to make use of its small kitchenette. Simply equipped with pots and pans, crockery, a small fridge, an electric hob, a juicer and mini-dishwasher - perfect for families needing to feed babies and kids on demand (you can ask for a microwave on request).
Otherwise, you'll need to drive for lunch and dinner. Aljezur is less than 5 minutes away and has a local food market, a large supermarket and various eateries. This attractive small town has a huge ex-pat population (about a third!) so expect to hear a good deal of English being spoken.
Paula and Jelle's restaurant recommendations include Pont a Pé (in the centre of Aljezur) for traditional Alentejo cooking with friendly owners and welcoming prices, and veggie bistro MO (also in Aljezur), offering hearty, healthy vegan and veggie dishes to keep the hungriest of surfers satisfied. We enjoyed a romantic meal at VÁRZEA, and Arte Bianca is great for tasty takeaway pizzas.
For pre- or post-dinner tipples, Muxima's honesty bar provides the perfect excuse to watch day turn to dusk on your terrace, and they have a lovely selection of Portuguese natural wines.
- Children's meals
- Coffee / tea making
- Enjoy the tranquillity of this beautiful retreat: swim in the eco-pool, arrange a massage or a yoga lesson, seek out one of the many benches and hammocks hidden among the trees
- Grab a mountain bike and explore the 28 hectares of forest, or simply don your walking boots
- Kick back on the beautiful sandy beach at Amoreira. It sits at the mouth of a river, so there are calm shallows and rock pools for little ones, as well as great surfing conditions for older kids. While you’re there, treat yourself to a fish lunch at the Taberna do Gabriel
- You can also watch the surfers and windsurfers ride the waves at Monte Clerigo; lessons are available for the uninitiated
- Birdwatch: there are masses of feathered things in the forests surrounding the farm and the breakfast casita makes a perfect hide at dawn or dusk
- Across the main highway is the Southwest Algarvian Natural Park and the Vicentina Coast; host to 200 bird species and 750 known plant species, of which 46 are exclusively Portuguese with 10 endemics not found anywhere else in the world
- Play a round of golf on one of the many courses at the western end of the Algarve: the nearest is 30km from Muxima
- Within 5km of Muxima you can also go fishing, riding and diving (the B&B can arrange); a bit further afield are boat trips for dolphin watching
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Horse riding
- Scuba diving
Paula and Jelle, who have 4 children themselves, are genuinely welcoming and love to have families here. High chairs and travel cots can be set up with ease. There's plenty to do on the farm and in the surrounding forest, before you even start exploring the nearby area and beaches. Kids will love it, whether they're learning to surf, visiting the resident donkey, playing in the Wendy house and the climbing frame, settling into the mezzanine beds or swimming in the eco-friendly pool.
The only extra cost to be aware of is the small supplement for extra beds and cots (see rates).
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
Family friendly accommodation:
The suites have kitchenettes and plenty of space for extra guests, plus those in Casa do Monte offer added seclusion and privacy. We'd recommend the Tissamaharama and Chaouen suites (in Casa do Monte) for families with 1 or 2 children (they have space for 2 extra beds in the living room area). For those with 2 children or more, the Mangalore suite is the biggest overall and can hold a total of 3 extra beds. Note that all rooms have showers only, but baby baths are available on request.
Babysitting is available on request with a Portuguese or English speaker (see rates).
- Baby cot
- High chair
- Pram or pushchair to borrow
- Night light
- Baby bath
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Each suite has a kitchenette complete with a microwave, a hob, a mini dishwasher, a small fridge and pots and pans. Bottles can be warmed. The buffet breakfasts have something for everyone and the nearest restaurants are 1.5km away. It's also possible to get takeaways.
Kids Activities on site:
- Outdoor playground with Wendy house, sandpit and various toys and a shaded climbing frame and slide for older kids
- Resident animals include a donkey and dogs
- Children's DVDs (TV in guest lounge)
- Eco-friendly swimming pool with shallow end
- Playroom with toys and (mainly Portuguese) childrens books
- Swings on the cork tree
Kids Activities nearby:
- Great family-friendly beaches nearby (Amoriera, Monte Clerigo and Odeciexe) 20-30 minutes' drive
- Good walking with wildlife-spotting opportunities
Families Should Know:
Mobile phone signal can be a little hit and miss at the property; the closest shop for nappies etc is 1.5km away in Aljezur
- Airport: Just over 1 hour
- Medical attention: 10 minutes
- Nearest shop: 5 minutes
Muxima is just inland from the southwest coast of Portugal, 3 minutes by road from the small town of Aljezur.
The nearest airport is Faro (100km). You could also fly to Lisbon (238km) or to Sevilla in Spain (314km), both approx 3-4 hours' drive from Muxima. Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving these airports.
From the Airport
When travelling from Faro Airport, most people hire a car (see below) and drive down the motorway towards Aljezur. It takes just over an hour, but beware of the tolls.
Muxima is quite remote so you will probably want to hire a car. Bear in mind that the property is accessed via a track when choosing your vehicle - see our car rental recommendations.
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.
More on getting to Portugal and getting around
- Faro 100.0 km FAO
- Lisbon 234.0 km
- Beach 6.0 km
- Shops 1.0 km
- Restaurant 1.0 km